World briefs: 38 die in fire at Russian mental hospital

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MOSCOW -- When flames shot out of Psychiatric Hospital No. 14 at 2 a.m. Friday, people in the village of Ramensky crept as close as they could, knowing that patients and medical staff were probably trapped inside. But fire raged through the 73-year-old wooden building, and there was nothing to put it out with.

"What could you do?" one neighbor told a television crew. "You couldn't help them with a bucket of water from a ditch. There was no hose, no hydrant."

An alarm had sounded at the nearest fire station 30 miles away, across a rain-swollen canal with a ferry that will not operate until summer. So the firefighters took a long detour, and arrived an hour later.

Thirty-eight people died and only three escaped. The one-story brick-and-wood hospital building housed patients with severe mental disorders, Health Ministry officials said. The fire started in a wooden annex, then spread to the 1950s main brick building, which had wooden beams.

Musharraf under arrest

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan -- An anti-terrorism court placed Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former military leader, under arrest Friday on charges related to the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, adding to a tangle of legal woes that have hobbled Mr. Musharraf's hopes for a political comeback.

The order changes little for Mr. Musharraf, a retired army general who is already under house arrest in a case involving his detention and firing of senior judges after imposing emergency rule in 2007.

Also in Pakistan on Friday, a bomb exploded near the office of a main Pakistan political party that had received threats from the Taliban, killing nine people in the latest attack in the run-up to next month's parliamentary election.

11 sentenced in terror plot

LONDON -- Three men convicted of leading a plot to launch terrorist attacks in Britain to rival the Sept. 11 assault and surpass the 2005 deadly bombings on London's transit system were given sentences Friday ranging from life to 15 years' imprisonment. Eight co-defendants were given lesser sentences.

Although no specific targets were revealed, the court heard the three planned to make at least eight bombs weighing about 11 pounds each to leave in backpacks in crowded places; drive cars with some kind of blades attached through unsuspecting crowds; attack military targets; and turn Birmingham into a "war zone."

Bosnian president arrested

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Bosnian police on Friday arrested Zivko Budimir, president of one of the two entities that make up Bosnia-Herzegovina, was arrested along with 18 other people in a probe of alleged corruption, prosecutors said.

The nation consists of the Serb-run Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation. Both are highly independent, and each has its own president, government and parliament.

Police probe torture

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Police say they will investigate allegations that Vasco da Gama midfielder Bernardo was tortured by drug traffickers in a Rio de Janeiro slum.

Authorities say the player apparently was held by traffickers earlier this week after he was seen with the girlfriend of one of the drug leaders in the Mare shantytown in Rio's north side.

Police already interrogated the girlfriend, who was abducted along with Bernardo and was shot in the leg by the traffickers. She was not seriously hurt.

Compiled from news services



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